Business

03 September 2018

3 highlights on the Sotheby’s Bourbon Parma Sale

Passed down, transformed or survivors, 100 pieces evoke 200 years of the Bourbon Parma dynasty. Even if you can’t buy any, go and admire them in the exhibitions laid on by Sotheby’s.

 

3 of Marie-Antoinette’s pieces

The star items in this Bourbon Parma sale include a necklace with more than 300 perfectly matched fine pearls, a pendant with an exceptional fine pearl measuring 26 x 18 mm, and a pair of fine pearl and diamond earrings. These pieces once belonging to Marie-Antoinette are survivors from French history. Just before she was taken to the Temple prison, the Queen gave them to Madame Campan, her first chambermaid, who handed them over to Marie-Antoinette’s right-hand man, who passed them on to the Queen’s sister. They were later returned to the Duchesse d’Angoulême after her release. A last-minute rescue.

 

2 pieces of wedding jewelry

Bourbon Parma weddings were an occasion for creating magnificent jewelry. For the marriage in 1902 between Elias of Bourbon, Duke of Parma and Maria Anna of Austria (a member of another great dynasty, the Habsburgs) the traditional collection of wedding gifts displayed on the day of their official engagement ceremony was bursting with treasures. Maria Anna received a brooch sporting a magnificent 30.70 carat Ceylon sapphire from her mother, and a diamond spray tiara from her great-uncle, Franz-Joseph (husband of Elizabeth of Austria, or “Sissi”). This exceptional piece is even more valuable as it was made by Köchert, accredited jewelers to the Austrian emperors for 400 years.

 

1 “variety” set

The more precious the materials used in jewelry, the less chance it has of coming down to us. Stones could be removed from their settings and gold melted down for sale because of divorce or bankruptcy, or they could be re-mounted more fashionably. This jewelry set from the Bourbon Parma sale is a perfect illustration of such historical up-cyclings: five of the diamonds come from Marie-Antoinette’s daughter jewel box, the pear-cut stone was owned by the Archduchess Isabella of Austria (who lived a century earlier), and several once embellished the sword of the Duc de Berry, who died in 1820. Gems can tell astounding tales…

 

 

Related articles:

In bits

Sotheby’s historical record in Geneva

 

Sotheby’s exhibitions

Münich 17-18 September 2018 / Hong Kong 27 September-2 October 2018 / Dubai 7-9 October 2018 / New York 12-16 October 2018 / Londres 20-22 October 2018 / Singapour 26-27 October 2018 / Taïpei 30-31 October 2018

 

 

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